May 17, 2016

Interview with Dr. Sylva Dvorak: How To Overcome Anger and Resentment in a Relationship

Interview with Dr. Sylva Dvorak: How To Overcome Anger and Resentment in a Relationship

Interview Transcript

Mike Hennessy: This is Mike Hennessy and on behalf of the team at, I would like to welcome you to today’s interview with Dr. Sylva Dvorak. Sylva Dvorak is a licensed doctor of psychoneurology and integrative healing and is a co-author of Your Hidden Riches: Unleashing the Power of Ritual to Create a Life of Meaning and Purpose. To learn more about Dr. Sylva Dvorak, visit her website at or Dr. Sylva Dvorak, thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Sylva Dvorak, thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Dvorak: Thank you so much. I’m so glad to be here.

Mike: One of the biggest threats to a relationship is resentment. Sometimes women tend to avoid talking about difficult issues especially early in a relationship because they don’t want to be perceived as a nagger or someone who is too needy or demanding while at the same time when the issues don’t get discussed, they can build up in anger and resentment and can build up over time into a real problem for a relationship. Can you offer some practical strategies and tips on how women can overcome that obstacle to their relationship?

Dr. Dvorak: Absolutely. This is such a big thing. Not discussing issues when they come up in relationship is dangerous in a relationship because generally what happens is that the anger and resentment just builds and builds and then one more thing will happen that just tips it over and that mountain that has been building then just explodes.

By the way, both men and women do this. However, women have a tendency to do it more because we feel like we don’t really want to rock that boat or we don’t want to hurt the other person or we are afraid we may lose the relationship or they’ll think less of us if we share those feelings or express them in some way. We worry that this other person might get upset or et cetera, et cetera.

However, as we all know, all those pent up feelings when they’ve been pent up too long do eventually come out in some way. And for a woman, either the woman becomes sarcastic or she may drop hints and not be direct and those hints maybe negative, or she may build up a mountain of negative thinking about her partner, end the relationship.

And most damaging is that then all that energy begins to focus so much on the negative emotions that you can really end up destroying the relationship when all that was needed is to speak up and be clear and express needs and feelings before it turned into anger and resentment.

So of course, the most important thing to do is to practice prevention. And this means that you have to share what maybe causing you pain or worry in the relationship. And the best way to do this is to express how something is making you feel rather than pointing the finger and telling your partner what they did wrong or that they are wrong in some way.

So, you want to make sure that when you are going to share your feelings that you ask for a time and you ask for that time of your partner so that you can create a time to share your feelings when they can be present for you in the conversation. In other words, you’re not just going to right in the middle of their work then give them a call and say, “Hey, this is coming up for me and this is how I’m feeling.” They’re not going to be able to be present for you. So you want to create the time when they can be present for you and you too can really create that space for the conversation.

The other thing is, is that where I hear couples do this and I’m always warning them is not to discuss the issues and the problems or your feelings or negativity in your bedroom. You want to keep your bedroom as a sacred space. So if it’s in a partnership where you’re in a committed relationship and you’re living together, do not take the negative things that you want to express or anger or resentment or even making discussions about the relationship in the bedroom.

Practicing prevention is always creating that space where that you can both be heard and you can express your feelings and so can they in a place that is neutral for you and doesn’t leave a resonance of a possible negative feeling for other activity that goes on in the bedroom.

So here are some other practical strategies and tips on how you can overcome resentment and anger. First of all, you have to realize that you are 50% of the equation of what is going on in your relationship. I know that’s kind of like, “Really? They did this and they did that.” And you want to point the finger at them. But in reality, we all have to take 50% responsibility for what’s going on in our relationship.

And so, that means that before you start building up all that negative emotion, first look at yourself and then what is it that you’ve been doing or not doing in some cases that is contributing to the issues that you may angry or resentful about? Take full responsibility for your role in what is creating the disconnect in your relationship. You can’t be responsible for your partner’s parts however you can be 100% responsible for your part.

So, one of the things you can do is write it all out. Write out all the stuff. Take a look at what you wrote about that situation and examine it and learn from it. Look at what maybe your role is. Maybe you’ve been holding back from communicating. Maybe you have been doing some things that pointing the finger, making your partner feel bad and then they are holding back and now you’re feeling angry and resentful about that.

Again, once you’ve done that and examined your role first and then go ahead and ask for that time with your partner and talk to them about it and how you’re feeling. And listen to how they are feeling and then together create a plan and a strategy so that down the road you can avoid those situations that maybe causing that anger and resentment. It’s critical to create a plan and a strategy so again you don’t fall back into some of those old patterns that you may have been falling into that have created that – those negative emotions.

Now, this next tool that I’m going to be sharing with you is really one of my favorite tools to share with individuals and couples when they’re pointing the finger at someone else. And this tool is called The Work of Byron Katie and it’s really a great tool for investigating stressful beliefs or concepts you may be holding about another person. I can guarantee you that if you have the courage to use this tool that it will help 100% release some of the negativity that you’re holding, anger and resentments and free yourself to create an even deeper and loving relationship with yourself and with the other person.

So, one of the things I want to tell you about this tool is I’m going to teach you how to use this tool but then you’re going to have someone facilitate you or I’ll give you a way that you can have someone facilitate you if you don’t have someone that could do it for you.

So, what you’re going to do first is write down this statement. In this situation, what angers, confuses or disappoints you and why? In this situation, what angers, confuses or disappoints you and why?

So you’re going to fill in this blank, “I am (blank)” and then in that blank, you’re going to fill in the emotion, “with…” and then the name of them, “because I am (blank)” that’s where you put the emotion, “with …” that’s where you put their name, “because…” so that’s where you put the situation.

So for example, “I am angry with Joe because he never helps around the house and I have to do everything.”

So when you write things down, don’t hold back and don’t make it pretty. Truly let it all out. Write out the feelings. No one has to see it but you and the person who will be facilitating you in this process.

Then the next thing you’re going to write down is in this situation, how do you want them to change? What do you want them to do? So in this situation, how do you want them to change or what do you want them to do?

So for example, “I want Joe to be more helpful. I want him to initiate help around the house. I want him to ask me for how he could help me.”

Then look at these two statements and now look at what you wrote. And just to get you started in this process, notice where are all the shoulds, what they should be doing or have done or said. Then choose one of them to do the work with.

OK. So then what you are going to do is write the statement of the should. So for example, “Joe should help more around in the house.”

Then you’re going to ask these four questions. Is it true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true? How do you react? What happens when you believe that thought and who would you be without that thought?

So for example, is it true Joe should help around the house? Well, you may think that it is true. He should help around the house.

So then you can ask the second question. Can you absolutely know that it’s true that Joe should help around the house? Well, it may not be absolutely true that he helps around the house and then it may. Either case, then you can move to question three.

How do you react? What happens when you believe that thought Joe should help around the house? “I get angry. I get disappointed. I want to withhold things. I want to withhold my affection. I want to get even angrier. I don’t want to help him.” These could be honest things of how you’re really thinking.

And then the last question is who would be without that thought? “Well, without the thought that Joe should help around the house, I would be fine. I would just be me and Joe would just be him. I would probably be a lot more loving and connected to Joe. I would probably have a lot less anger and resentment. I probably have a lot more peace in my thoughts and in my heart. I would just be me doing what I do and Joe would be him doing what he does.”

The last part is the turnaround. And the turnaround has three aspects to it, turning it around about them, about you, and your thinking.

So, one turnaround would be that Joe shouldn’t help around the house and you can find evidence for that. Maybe Joe already works full-time and there are some instances where he doesn’t need to help around the house.

The second turnaround is you turning it around yourself. Maybe there are places that you need to help Joe more. Maybe you need to help him with things around the house for him. And maybe there are places that you could help him to make his life easier.

And then the third place you can turn it around is your thinking. “My thinking about Joe will help us more around the house. My thinking about Joe could really help us in the house.” Maybe. Your thinking about Joe will actually create more peace in your house and maybe this is really the truest of all of them. Which is the true and truest for you?

See, when you get to the real truth, you can truly create more peace in your heart and in your mind and when you do that, those things that agitate us, that create resentments and anger just really fall away.

So, I know this is a lot in a short amount of time. And so, I want to give you access to this tool. And what you can do is go to the website,, and this is Byron Katie’s website, and download for free a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. You can use this worksheet on any relationship in your life, whatever negative emotions that you’re having.

And I highly suggest that you don’t do this on yourself first. You always do it about another especially those closest to you and complete the worksheet.

And then just have someone facilitate you. And all they have to do is ask you these four questions. Do not have them do anything else. They are simple four questions and then do the turnaround.

And by the way, on this website, you can also schedule someone to facilitate you for completely free. I love The Work because Byron Katie’s work is so committed about setting your thinking free, where you judge others and where you have stressful thoughts and concepts about others so you can come to peace and feel the truth of really what’s going on and come back to peace in your mind and in your heart.

And I hope you take advantage of that and use the worksheet or the other things I have suggested in this short time to support you in having greater peace in your relationships.

Mike: Dr. Slyva Dvorak, thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Dvorak: Thank you so much. Pleasure to be here.

Mike Hennessy: And this is Mike Hennessy and on behalf of the team at, I would like to thank you for listening to our interview with Dr. Sylva Dvorak and we wish you the very best in your relationships.

For free tips and thoughts on relationship advice for women, from hundreds of experts and authors, please visit our website at




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